Medical Assistant

An important member of the health care team, the Medical Assistant helps patients and providers in today’s medical clinics. From updating electronic medical records and performing laboratory services to giving injections and assisting with procedures, the medical assistant performs an essential role.

The Medical Assistant program at Columbia Basin College (CBC) prepares students to work within a medical office with valuable skills in office administration as well as clinical and patient care skills. Medical Assistants are commonly employed in outpatient physician offices, clinics, health maintenance organizations and hospitals. The program consists of three quarters of coursework followed by a 198-hour unpaid externship with a local employer.

The 5-year cumulative credentialing exam passage rate, for students who graduated between 2018 and 2022, is 96.47%.

CBC Medical Assistant Program

Medical Assistants continue to be in high demand. CBC’s Medical Assistant program has maintained excellent placement of graduates throughout the community. CBC’s Medical Assistant students have also received higher wages than other competing Medical Assistant programs in the region.


This program has a mandatory Medical Assistant information session requirement. Questions will be answered by an Advisor/Counselor or a program representative.
Anyone interested in a CBC School of Health Sciences program should attend.

Information sessions are scheduled for one hour and they are open to anyone interested in a CBC Health Sciences program.

To view upcoming information sessions and register, please check our events calendar.

Both CBC and the Medical Assistant program are independently accredited. CBC is accredited through the premier regional accrediting body, Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

The Medical Assistant Certificate program is nationally accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) upon the recommendation of the Medical Assisting Education Review Board (MAERB).

Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs
9355 - 113th St. N, #7709
Seminole, FL 33775

Only students completing a CAAHEP or an Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) accredited program are eligible to become certified medical assistants.

To find other accredited Medical Assistant programs, see CAAHEP and ABHES.

Application Process

The application process for the Medical Assistant program for Fall 2024 is now open!
The first date to submit the application is May 28, 2024, and the last day to submit an applicaiton is July 8, 2024, by end of day.

Please have all prerequisite courses completed by the end of spring quarter 2024.   

College transcripts of applicants into the Medical Assistant program will be reviewed for the following courses:

  • HSCI 147 Medical Terminology (5 credits)
  • PSYC& 100 General Psychology (5 credits)
  • ENGL& 101, 102 or 235 (5 credits)
  • CMST& 101, 210, or 220 or 260 (5 credits)
  • MATH 40 (formerly Math 083) and RDG 099 or higher reflected via a placement test or a college transcript with higher level classes successfully completed

Medical Assistant applications need to include a current copy the applicants American Heart Association BLS Provider CPR card or certificate.

*** Students in the CBC Medical Assistant program must hold a high school diploma or equivalent GED in order to obtain licensure as a medical assistant in Washington State. Students must attest to high school completion at the time of application for licensure per Washington State Department of Health requirements. 

  • All prerequisite course work needs to be passed with a 2.0 or above. Students must send in official copies of all transcripts for courses taken in institutions other than Columbia Basin College in order to receive credit for courses taken.
  • No experiential learning credit, advanced placement credit or transfer credit will be given for Medical Assistant courses.

The application process for the Medical Assistant program for Fall 2024 is now open!

Apply Today!

To submit an application, applicants can scan & email completed applications with required documentation to CBC Health Sciences, send the application via USPS, or personally deliver it to the CBC Health Science Center located in Richland. Instructions to submit will also be noted on the first page of the application.

All prerequisite courses need to be completed by the end of Spring quarter of the year applying. Grades from the prerequisite courses will be utilized in the Admission Index Score.

Applicants will receive a letter of acceptance or denial into the program by the end of July. Acceptance is based on an Admission Index Score. The Admission Index Score creates equity among applicants. Accepted students will attend a mandatory orientation before Fall quarter (date will be announced). Each student will be required to submit a national background search and drug screen to the college-approved vendor. The background check must be initiated and paid for before registration can occur for Fall quarter. Accepted students must also provide proof of the required immunizations before going to clinical. The cost to the student for the background check, drug screen and the immunization tracker is approximately $180.00. Those students not admitted may reapply the following year.

Upon successful completion of course work from the CBC Medical Assistant program, graduates will have the degree or certificate earned posted at the bottom of their CBC college transcript.

Graduates qualify for examination with American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) to be nationally certified. Fees are additional and we encourage graduates to apply for testing shortly before completion of your last quarter clinical course. Cost is $125 if the application is submitted within 12 months of graduation date.

Washington State Department of Health (DOH) mandatory licensing fee is $145 to be paid by the graduate.

Each state, the District of Columbia and the U.S. protectorates vary in what professions they require to be licensed and the educational requirements for those licenses. It’s important to understand whether the degree or certificate you obtain from CBC will meet the educational eligibility requirements for a license in the state in which you plan to practice.

View educational licensure requirements by state.



National Background Search & Drug Screen Requirements

As part of the admission requirements for Health Science programs, applicants must successfully pass a criminal background check and drug screen prior to working with patients in clinical areas. The background check and drug screen are paid by the student and administered through a third party company, CastleBranch. In addition to the background check required by CBC, each clinical facility reserves the right to conduct its own criminal background check prior to allowing a student to enter its health care facilities for clinical participation.

Certain criminal convictions, pending charges or negative actions may automatically disqualify a person from having unsupervised access to vulnerable adults, juveniles and children. Clinical facilities reserve the right to accept or decline a student’s placement in its facility.

Columbia Basin College Medical Assistant Program Goals

The primary goal of the CBC Medical Assistant program is to prepare medical assistants who are competent in the cognitive (knowledge), psychomotor (skills) and affective (behavior) learning domains to enter the profession. These learning domains are necessary for performing administrative and clinical tasks in physician clinics and offices. In fulfilling this goal, the Medical Assistant program exists to:

  1. Provide students with access to quality medical assisting education that will prepare them for meaningful employment in physicians’ offices and clinics.
  2. Be responsive to the needs of physicians in providing quality graduates who are certified, properly trained, and value continuing education.
  3. Promote faculty development and excellence in teaching.
  4. Develop and maintain partnerships with local physicians’ offices and clinics to facilitate student learning and workforce development.
  5. Provide the residents of south central Washington State with graduates of the Medical Assisting program trained to be safe and meet the state and national standards for practice.
  6. Apply knowledge of population management in performing entry level care in the ambulatory setting.

The Medical Assistant program is taught by certified medical assistants and is supported by additional administrative staff as well as a physician medical director.

CBC Medical Assistant Program

Medical Assistants work within a medical office with valuable skills in office administration as well as clinical and patient care skills. Medical assistants are commonly employed in:

  • Outpatient physician offices
  • Primary care clinics
  • Health maintenance organizations
  • Hospitals
  • Urgent care clinics

The Medical Assistant program is a part of CBC’s Health Sciences guided pathways. The program was developed knowing students commonly want to continue their education into other career areas, including nursing. Students completing CBC's Medical Assistant program will also be able to continue their studies in the field of applied business with the Bachelor of Applied Science in Applied Management degree program.

Program Learning Outcomes for Medical Assistant

Program learning outcomes are the knowledge, skills, and abilities that students will achieve before they graduate. The outcomes below were developed by the faculty in the Medical Assistant program at CBC with input from accrediting bodies, advisory committees, employers, etc. This collaboration ensures that the outcomes are relevant for careers that this degree leads to.

Students graduating with an AAS in Medical Assistant will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate competency performing entry-level administrative and clinical skills in the ambulatory care setting.
  2. Practice within the scope of education and abilities and follow state and national guidelines for practice.
  3. Define and display professionalism.
  4. Apply knowledge of human development and behavior to effectively communicate with clients, families, and members of the health care team.
  5. Assist the physician with client teaching regarding wellness promotion and disease prevention.
  6. Develop employment strategies necessary for a successful transition to employment as a Medical Assistant.


Medical Science Center